A doctor who had expressed interest in purchasing The Glenfir School property in Summerland for a medical college is disappointed that the site has been sold to another purchaser.
Dr. Dale Alsager, interim dean of Canadian International College of Osteopathic Medicine, said his organization has been interested in purchasing the school building and has been in contact with the owner of the property.
Alsager wonders why the property owners reached a sale agreement with a school providing the International Baccalaureate program instead of his organization.
“What they did not say is that they already had a viable contract for the sale in hand,” Alsager said. “We have been working through due diligence on a purchase agreement with Glenfir for over one year on our project and we have legal opinion that we have a valid, enforceable contract to purchase.”
Alsager’s proposal is for an osteopathic medical school.
Osteopathic medicine is a branch of medicine recognized in 65 countries worldwide, including the United States and Canada. Osteopathic physicians have been practicing in Canada since the early 1900s.
He said there are only 36 full practice osteopathic medical colleges, all in the United States. His proposed facility would be the first in Canada.
While Alsager has expressed interest in the property, Mary Taylor, former business manager at the school and now a consultant, said the college had not presented a firm offer.
Instead, the medical college had given a non-binding letter of intent.
“It wasn’t an offer. It was a letter of intent,” Taylor said. She added that there was not a non-refundable deposit from Alsager.
“I worked really hard with him,” Taylor said.
The private school, on a seven-hectare property on Pierre Drive, was built in 1996 and expanded in 2006. The building is 3,700 square metres
The facility has been closed since the spring of 2011 and the property has been for sale since that time.
Earlier this summer, The Glenfir School approached municipal council for a designation and zoning change at the property.
The change is needed so an international school could construct a dormitory on the property.
A public hearing on the bylaw amendment will be held at the Summerland municipal council meeting on Aug. 14.
Cindy Leung, school operator for the proposed facility, said the school would offer the International Baccalaureate program. She hopes to have the boarding facility in place as soon as possible, to allow international students to attend as early as 2018.
But Alsager said the dispute could become lengthy.
“Unfortunately, this dilemma the Glenfir shareholders have put us in will take a minimum of two years to litigate,” he said. “Meanwhile, we are scrambling to find an alternate, temporary location so we can get our programs started this fall.”
Taylor said the sale to the private school is proceeding, with a number of subject-to clauses expected to be resolved by the end of August.